About a year and half ago we started having Town Hall Meetings, every six months, with each crew on the farm. Managers are not present at these meetings. Our owner, Bill MacFarlane, coordinates the discussions. This is an opportunity for employees to share concerns and ideas with Bill.
Sarah Pope, our office manager, sets up the meeting times and takes notes at the meetings. Bill reviews the notes and follows up by discussing employee concerns and ideas with managers. It takes about a month to complete meetings with each crew. Prior to the beginning of Town Hall Meetings,Sarah spends many hours setting up meeting times that work for everyone. Every crew member is required to attend, so it takes a lot of planning to pull the meetings together. Though Bill leads the discussions, he focuses more on being a good listener and allowing employees to be heard. There are four main questions asked at every meeting:
- What equipment/tools do you need to do your job?
- Are the processes of your job clear so that you can do it correctly?
- What changes would you make to the farm?
- What makes a quality/professional farm?
Meetings can last from 30 minutes to two hours. It all depends on how much employees have to say. Some groups have pages of ideas, questions, and needs at a particular meeting and others don’t have as many concerns or needs at the time of the meeting. The meetings are a special opportunity to build trusting relationships between Bill and his employees, and for Bill to get new ideas from the people who do the daily work that keeps the farm running successfully. Employees feel good about the opportunity to share their thoughts and Bill appreciates the chance to get caught up on how each crew is feeling, what their needs are, and how their work is going.
In addition to the Town Hall Meetings, we have an employee monthly newsletter that comes out with the paychecks. We have a communication board in the break room and supervisors receive emails that they share with employees. Our crew members communicate constantly throughout each day, in person and via the radios. These modes of communication are just as important as our Town Hall Meetings. As you have heard us say many times before, communication is the key to our success at MacFarlane Pheasants, Inc. Town Hall Meetings were devised in order to add another layer to the communication process.
Please feel free to contact us with your ideas, concerns and questions. We sincerely appreciate your thoughts.